Saturday, February 24, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Florida's bigger concern: Medicaid

Official: Foreign kids may be a hazard | July 19

Florida has a bigger health concern

Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong's remarks that immigrant children might come to the state without basic medical screenings is a legitimate concern. We need to know what services these children might need and how to avoid the spread of disease if they are sick and living in the United States.

But if Florida is really worried about people in the state who are walking around without health screenings or treatment for any "illnesses they have," why has Florida denied funds offered by the U.S. government for the Medicaid expansion that would provide insurance to three quarters of a million Florida residents?

I would imagine that some of the estimated 764,000 nonelderly Floridians who fall in the "gap" between eligibility for regular Medicaid and access to insurance through the Affordable Care Act might also have untreated illnesses that could be spread to neighbors, co-workers, strangers, etc., and might also be in need of treatment.

A state can reverse the decision to not adopt the Medicaid expansion at any time, and I urge Florida legislators to rethink their decision so that all who live in the state have access to screenings and treatment. This is the way to create a truly healthy Florida.

Cecilia Yocum, Tampa

Get rid of the IRS and tax consumption July 17, letter

Transaction tax works best

Of course ridding ourselves of the IRS is a wonderful idea, and so is a consumption tax. But there is an even better, effortless and fair tax system: the automatic payment transactions tax, which automatically transfers a very small portion of every money transaction to the U.S. Treasury.

This eliminates the need for tax forms, deadlines, penalties, tax records, loopholes, exemptions, withholding or any of the IRS stuff. Earnings and profits would be untaxed, and only both sides of every transaction taxed at a flat, universal rate of 0.015 percent. No federal tax system makes more sense.

Bud Tritschler, Clearwater

Congress should be fired | July 18, letter

Money calls the tune

The idea of firing all of Congress and getting a new group in — with hopes of change for the better — is a pipe dream. As long as it's so expensive to run for office, big-money interests are willing to help, for a price. What must stop is the need for thousands of dollars, or more, to be elected and thus not be beholden to the big-money givers.

Paula Xenakis, Holiday

Senate holds up action

The Times published a letter claiming that the GOP is running a do-nothing Congress. I recently had a conversation with Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Spring Hill, at a veterans' fair. I was informed that the Republican-led House has passed more than 400 bills to date and they are being blocked by Democratic Leader Harry Reid in the Senate. Nugent told me 30 percent of these bills are bipartisan.

Robert Hicks, Hudson

U.S. points at Russia | July 19

Western policy failures

The irresponsible choice between the European Union (Germany) and Russia forced on a historically divided Ukraine by clueless EU bureaucrats and a U.S. national security team on Cold War autopilot produced chaos. When the United States immediately recognized the nationalist coup plotters in Kiev, the die was cast. The U.S. failure to acknowledge EU/U.S. complicity set Ukraine on a course of increasing conflict.

The other path was to urge Russian-Ukrainian participation in a customs union that would approach the EU together, and assurances that Ukraine would not be part of NATO. Instead, it's business as usual with as yet unforeseen consequences.

Walter Kitchenman, St. Petersburg

Utilities want to gut goals | July 20

Consumers left with the bill

Florida's utilities are asking at an upcoming meeting if they can slash the energy-saving programs that we, the consumers, are taking advantage of in order to save money.

They are talking of building new power plants. Those of us who live in Duke Energy country are already paying for a broken plant — one that they broke and could not fix and now will not be fixed, yet we still pay for.

The utilities see little merit in other energies. Solar energy? "Not reliable," yet I don't think the sun is going away anytime soon. Increased energy-efficient appliances and building practices? Not "cost effective." Again, whose side are they on?

The one statement I find truly insulting is the one that states that the hearing is closed and is "too technical." Do they think we cannot bring intelligent, thought-provoking ideas and issues to this debate that would add some insight to this matter, as we are the ones who are paying the bills?

As far as my checkbook has seen, the Public Service Commission has done nothing to help me save money when it comes to my utilities as it has always stood side by side with the utility companies.

Rosanne Paris, Palm Harbor

Voucher law faces challenge | July 17

Attack on unions unhelpful

I found incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner's reflexive attack of teacher unions troubling. When the Florida Education Association filed suit against SB 850 (voucher expansion), he said the unions may have given up on these children but he hadn't.

First, that's arguable. This Legislature has routinely slashed education budgets, attacked the teaching profession and made policy decisions — Common Core, high-stakes standardized testing, vouchers, charter schools and merit pay — that are not supported by evidence but which quite often benefit their campaign donors.

Also, unions don't establish budgets, create curriculums, hire or fire teachers. All they do is try to make sure that mutually agreed upon contract language — the rules — are enforced. Furthermore, because Florida is a right to work state, strikes — the unions' one truly effective tool — have been taken out of their toolbox.

The truth is we have serious issues in education, many caused by the policies Gardiner supports. Unfortunately, instead of trying to fix them Gardiner seems more interested in hyperbolic rhetoric and blaming one of the groups trying to do so.

Chris Guerrieri, Jacksonville


Saturday’s letters: Preserve home rule in Florida

LegislaturePreserve home rule in FloridaOn behalf of the members of Business Watch, a trade association for government contractors, I would like to voice our dismay over the Legislature’s wholesale attack on home rule. As local government contractors...
Published: 02/23/18

Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18